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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Great Ruthlesski Makes His Masters Pick

Clearly overconfident after picking Stacy Lewis to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship last week (after Paula Creamer, his original pick, stumbled badly and drove a sharp pink stake through his heart), the Great Ruthlesski once again buffs up his crystal golf ball -- this time for Masters predictions.

Let's face it, Phil is the favorite. He was already playing better than he did last year, and now he's got his two best rounds (and best weekend score) in two years, has tied a course record, and set a new tournament record -- all in the week before the Masters. He's the only guy in 20 years to win the week before the Masters and then win the Masters also. He's ahead of Tiger in the world rankings for the first time this century. And, perhaps scariest of all for his competitors, he seems to be in a good place both physically and mentally for the first time in those same two years.

Therefore the Great Ruthlesski is NOT picking Phil to win. (I told you he was overconfident.)

As little as a month ago the Great Ruthlesski had been leaning toward Martin Kaymer despite his past poor showings at the Masters. However, Kaymer's inability to post a good finish recently has the Great One concerned, so he can't in good conscience risk his already fragile reputation on the World #1.

However, there is a player whom the Great Ruthlesski has been big on for several months now and who has not let him down... a player who has stepped up big time on the biggest stages so far in 2011. It is this player who gains the Great Ruthlesski's nod.

That player is WGC-Accenture Match Play champion Luke Donald. (Photo from acushnetgolf.com.)

Luke Donald photo from acushnetgolf.com

Not everyone shares his enthusiasm for Donald. For example, Jimmy Boyd over at Locksmith Sports Picks writes:
Luke Donald – Donald shot a course record 62 at The Bear’s Club last week but enters this tournament slightly overvalued in my opinion. His backers know all too well how he did at Augusta last year (missed the cut).
To which the Great Ruthlesski replies: This isn't your 2010 model Luke Donald. The 2011 model rode roughshod over a WGC field earlier in the year for his biggest win ever and, according to Tim Rosaforte, backed up that course record 62 with a 66. He may have missed his first cut back on Tour after a 3-month rest (that was Riviera), but he's got 3 Top 10s (with that WGC win) since. He looks confident and at ease with himself. And the Masters cut he missed last year? You can be pretty sure that helped fuel his improvement.

Most importantly, his iron play and putting are obviously still sharp. Tom Watson says that iron play is the determining factor at Augusta, not length (although it helps). True, Donald's only 145th in GIR at 63.33%, but he's missing them in the right places. We know that because he's ranked 2nd in Scoring, 5th in Scrambling, 7th in Total Putting, and 8th in Sand Saves.

The Great Ruthlesski will ride that pony till it breaks its leg on the turn and we have to shoot it. (Ok, maybe not the best analogy...)

At any rate, the Great Ruthlesski has spoken: Luke Donald shocks the sports world and wins the Masters for his first major. Be appropriately awed.

And just for the record, I wrote this Monday night for posting this morning. In the meantime, Luke Donald won the Wednesday par-3 tournament, which no one has ever won and then won the Masters in the same year. I think Donald is the guy who's going to break that curse. I'm still picking Luke Donald to win this year's Masters.

2 comments:

  1. Your pick has just blown itself out of the water, O Great One - he's gone and won the par-3 tournament...

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  2. Like I said, I expect him to break the curse as well. All hail St. Luke, patron saint of the par-3! ;-)

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